19 September 2014 - Recognition for Legal Industry Innovators
17 September 2014 - Slater & Gordon Expands in Western Sydney with Acquitisition
15 September 2014 - How Your Next Job Will Find You
About 12 months ago LinkedIn reached 5 million Australian members. When it reaches 6 million, this will be almost half the Australian workforce, including the employed and unemployed.
LinkedIn offers a job posting service. Over the last 12 months, the number of jobs posted on LinkedIn for lawyers in Australia increased four-fold. Although this sound like impressive growth, it is still less than 300 job postings at present. By comparison, Seek has more than 2,000 job advertisements for lawyers.
In the video presentation below, the CEO of LinkedIn restates one of the goals of the company: to be a resource for finding candidates who are not actively looking for a job but might consider an opportunity. Called passive candidates, this group has been estimated to be 80-90% of the workforce.
According to LinkedIn's CEO, it is not just about LinkedIn members finding the right jobs. It is increasingly going to be about the right jobs finding members.
watch video on YouTube
10 September 2014 - Employment Demand Continues to Increase
Job vacancy statistics can be viewed as an indicator of the demand for employees. Since the beginning of 2011 the trend has been unmistakably downward. This culminated in a jobs shakeout, especially in larger law firms, during 2012/13.
The demand for employed solicitors is currently on the rise. However it has a long way to go to recover to levels of only four years ago.
Charts: Internet job vacancies using data from from Australian Government Department of Employment
5 September 2014 - Stress on Victorian families likely to escalate if wills laws proceed
4 September 2014 - Law Council welcomes Law Society of WA recommendation to adopt Legal Profession Uniform Law
3 September 2014 - Assessing the Impact of the Increasing Number of Solicitors
Source: Law Society of NSW statistics
The latest statistics from the Law Society of NSW show that the number of solicitors has increased by 20% over the past five years. The increase over the past year, at 4%, has been in line with the five year trend.
How can a 20% increase in the number of solicitors be interpreted?
The population of Australia increased by 8% between December 2008 and December 2013. However, a better indicator is the change in the size of the economy. Real GDP increased by 14% over the five years to March 2014. Some areas of practice have grown by more than that rate of growth. One example is property/conveyancing over the past twelve months.
The number of suburban solicitors has been growing at more than twice the rate of city solicitors. Other notable trends are the increase in corporate in-house numbers and the increase in the number of sole practitioner firms.
1 September 2014 - 31% Deterioration in Legal Services Fee Income for ILH Group – Rockwell Olivier
Rockwell Olivier is the law firm core business of ASX listed ILH Group. In the six months to June 2014, Legal Services Fee Income was 31% lower than the same period last year (2H FY13). The severity of the result has been attributed to the exit of key fee-earning lawyers from the Perth practice.
For the whole year 2013/14, the decline in revenue (from ordinary activities) was 13% to $27.5 million. ILH Group reported a loss of $6.6m before tax (from continuing operations).
During 2013/14 ILH Group diversified into financial services (wealth management). In the year, revenue from this business represented 11.7% of the company’s total annual revenue.
The combination of the year's financial loss and funds used for acquisitions has left ILH with an increase of $11 million in total liabilities. At 30 June 2014, total liabilities were $25.6 million which represented 93% of the value of fee revenue for the year. Tangible assets of the group were $17 million of which $2.78 million was an investment in an associate that produced a return of $124,289 during the year.
28 August 2014 - Emerging Practice Areas Boost Shine's Financial Results
Revenue from Emerging Practice Areas grew by $5.8 million in FY 14, from $12.2 million to $18.0 million. Total revenue growth for the whole company was $10.3m. Therefore, traditional areas of work such as personal injury had dollar value growth that was less than the much smaller Emerging Areas business.
Shine Lawyers classifies its Emerging Areas to include Product liability, Professional negligence, Environmental, Disability insurance and superannuation, Class actions, First party insurance, Landowners rights, Aviation, Asbestos and Human rights.
In FY14, Shine Lawyers increased revenue by 10% compared to FY13 while expenses increased by 5%, contributing to a boost in profitability.
27 August 2014 - Contingency Fees: Access to Justice, Access to Profit
26 August 2014 - What Range of Billing and Pricing Options Does your Firm Offer? - Opinion by John Chisholm
"I know the death throes of time based billing in firms are significant with some clockroaches now finding even more ways to track their time via mobile apps & the like just in case they miss out on some time while driving, flying, eating and in those little intimate moments (clients must be deliriously happy with this as they have always felt their law firms have never been able to “capture” enough time!), yet the smart debate has really moved on from do I continue to only time base bill? to two much more salient questions:
1. what range of billing and pricing options do we offer? and
2. do we still keep recording time?"
Read more at chrisconsult.com
22 August 2014 - Bentham IMF Litigation Funder's Financial Results Hit by Bank of Queensland Case
Financial year 2013/14 gross income from cases was up 73% compared to FY2013 but the Bank of Queensland case contributed to a profit result that was lower than FY2013.
21 August 2014 - Queensland Conveyancing on the Up
The top chart shows the volume of property transfers over a three month period (May-July) for each of the past eight years. The bottom chart (from RP Data) shows annual changes in dwelling values. There is usually a correlation between the direction of property prices and the volume of conveyancing. This is evident from the charts below, except during 2009, when conveyancing continued downwards even though prices moved up. The Queensland real estate and conveyancing industry looked like it was heading for shutdown by 2011 but then it turned the corner and has been on the up ever since.
Annual change in dwelling values
19 August 2014 - Law Firm Brand Leaders in the Asia Pacific
The following Index ranks the strongest international law firm brands in Asia Pacific according to a survey of general counsel in $50m+ revenue companies with legal needs in the region. The leading brands are King & Wood Mallesons and Baker & McKenzie - joint first place. Minter Ellison tops the list of non-global Australian firms.
Click the table below to read further commentary at the Acritas website
12 August 2014 - Slater & Gordon to Acquire Two Australian Law Firms
11 August 2014 - Conveyancing Volumes in Victoria Go Through the Roof
You would expect that property sales volumes in each State of Australia would be in proportion to the population of each state.
Despite Victoria having a population that is around 30% less than NSW, the volume of Victoria's property transfers in July 2014 was higher than in NSW – albeit by a small margin.
For May to July 2014, Victoria property transfer volumes were 20% higher than the equivalent months of the previous year.
According to RP Data, dwelling prices in Melbourne are 11% higher than 12 months ago. Since the beginning of 2009 they have increased by 45%.
Sydney dwelling values have increased by 47% since the beginning of 2009. For May to July 2014, NSW property transfer volumes were 9% higher than the equivalent months of the previous year.
Sydney and Melbourne have experienced similar dwelling value increases over five years. However, over the same period, Melbourne has had far more price and volume volatility than Sydney.
Dwelling prices movements for Sydney and Melbourne are shown below (source: RP Data)
5 August 2014 - Breakaways Show the Way
4 August 2014 - ILH Group Prepares Market for Bad News Ahead of Annual Results
4 August 2014 - Slater & Gordon Acquires a Firm in WA
1 August 2014 - Highlights of the 2014 Mahlab Report
[Analysis of the report by Legal Practice Intelligence]
The 2014 Mahlab Report, just released, reports on lawyer remuneration and job satisfaction in the Australian legal market. The report is based on a survey which is supplemented by Mahlab’s in-depth understanding of the market as well as information gathered from its clients and candidates throughout the year.
The survey shows that 63% of lawyers in private practice were satisfied in their current role yet 47% considered leaving their role. Therefore some lawyers considered moving on even though they were satisfied in their current position. The statistical results imply that 10% of all lawyers are in this category. For this group, moving on is likely to be motivated by ambition and opportunity rather than dissatisfaction.
The survey’s focus is on lawyers who work in CBD firms providing services to corporate Australia. Private practice growth areas reported by the survey were Property, Construction, Banking & Finance, Corporate and Employment Law.
The report highlights some further trends:
- Contract corporate lawyers increasingly provide resourcing solutions
- The size of equity partnerships are on a downward trend
- New employment models are addressing a “bottleneck” of lawyers below partner level and
- Technology is being embraced to provide remote working and flexible work arrangements
The survey findings give an impression of an increasingly competitive market for employment in law firms but one which still continues to offer lawyers the financial rewards.
The 2014 Mahlab Private Practice Report (PDF) can be downloaded here
30 July 2014 - Challenges in the Legal Landscape
25 July 2014 M&A Boom Doesn't Always Mean Legal Fees Boom
If video does not display try this external link
23 July 2014 - Interview with Jim's Conveyancing Divisional Franchisor
click image below to read more
21 July 2014 - One Year Anniversary for Conveyancing Franchise
Jim’s Conveyancing was launched 12 months ago in Victoria. At the time it had expansion plans for 2014 that included franchising in other states.
Jim’s Group franchising covers more than 30 different services with an estimated annual revenue of more than $300 million. "Jim’s" is a brand that is probably more widely known than any name currently operating in the legal market.
Jim’s Conveyancing franchises are being offered for $38,800 plus GST.
Conveyancing franchising outside of Victoria has not been rolled out. The impact of Jim’s in the Victorian market appears to have been more of a ripple than a wave - so far.
Although the conveyancing division appears to have had a slow start, Jim’s Group, with its name recognition, hundreds of thousands of customers and a track record of business success, should probably not be underestimated.
16 July 2014 - Law Firm Employment Turning the Corner
14 July 2014 - Shine Lawyers Quietly Enters Market for Wills, Estates and Family Law
Shine Lawyers is offering Will Preparation, Estate Administration and Contested Wills services to Queensland, NSW, South Australia, Tasmania, ACT and NT.
Family law practitioners are located in Dalby and Toowoomba, Queensland.
There has been no ASX announcement about broadening its offering of private legal services.
Since listing on the ASX in May 2013 Shine Lawyers has consistently communicated a strategy of “inch wide – mile deep” referring to the range of services it offers. Diversification from personal injury work has been in what the company calls emerging practice areas. It lists these as: Product Liability, Professional Negligence, Environmental, Disability Insurance and Superannuation, Class Actions, First Party Insurance, Landowners Rights, Aviation, Asbestos and Human rights.
In June 2013 the company restated its focus on damages based litigation, identifying Wills as an example of an area of law that it would not be diversifying into.
Screen shot showing promotion of Wills and Estates Law
7 July 2014 - Divorces: State by State Numbers and Per Capita Rates
click table below for full article
3 July 2014 - If Millennials took over your law firm, it might look like this
Click below to read full article
1 July 2014 - Community Legal Centres Welcome One-Off Grants but Object to Restrictions on Activities
27 June 2014 - Migration Agents' Regulator to be Reviewed
24 June 2014 - Private Equity Firm with PEXA Interest in Play for SAI Global
PEP website screenshot
Pacific Equity Partners (PEP) has submitted a non-binding indicative proposal to SAI Global (SAI) to acquire 100% of its issued share capital. The acquisition value proposed is around $1.1 billion.
SAI announced that following this unsolicited proposal from PEP, SAI has been approached by a number of other parties also expressing interest in SAI and its businesses.
Earlier this month the SAI Board cautioned “at this time there is no guarantee that a proposal that is capable of being put to shareholders will eventuate from any party.”
As reported in the Australian Financial Review (23/6/14):
PEP owns Link Market Services which holds around 10% of PEXA. It is also the majority shareholder of VEDA which is a PEXA integrator/partner.
Another PEXA shareholder is Mr Paul Little, through his private company Namarong Pty Ltd, acquiring 5% of PEXA last year as part of a $78 million raising. He is expected to join the board of PEXA.
WA’s Langate holds around 16% and Macquarie Capital 20%. Other shareholders include State Governments and the four major banks.
CEO of PEXA, Marcus Price was quoted as saying that there were more capital raisings planned as the roll-out accelerated.
20 June 2014 - Plexus Law Automates Trade Promotions Legal Service
Article and Interview about Plexus Law's Permit Wizard
Plexus Law website
19 June 2014 - E-Conveyancing Arrives in WA Plus Property Sales Activity Update
17 June 2014 - Tracking Lawyer Salaries
Recruitment firm Mahlab has been tracking and reporting on lawyer salaries since 2000. This information is freely available on its website. Mahlab’s analysis covers small commercial CBD firms to the largest firms. Each year it gathers data by conducting a survey.
The survey is completed by individual lawyers. The larger the data-set, the more valuable will be the results from the survey. The Mahlab survey is now open until 30 June 2014 and lawyers are invited to participate.
As an added incentive, one participant will win a $500 voucher for the retail outlet or charity of their choice.
Link to Survey
A growing demand for property lawyers
Mahlab is seeing an unprecedented demand for property lawyers, read more
12 June 2014 - Shine Lawyers Announces Acquisition of Two Law Firms, Capital Raising and Trading Update
Shine Corporate Limited (ASX:SHJ) has today announced the acquisition of Emanate Legal, a leading legal specialist in land owner access rights, and Stephen Browne Personal Injury Lawyers, a leading Western Australia plaintiff litigation firm, for consideration of $27 million to $35.5 million.
Emanate Legal is based in Queensland with offices in Townsville, Roma and Brisbane and is a leading advisor to landowners affected by mine, rail, port and gas developments.
Western Australian based Stephen Browne Personal Injury Lawyers operates in similar practice areas as Shine’s personal injury businesses.
Shine’s Managing Director, Simon Morrison, said the acquisitions deliver on two core strategic goals – geographic diversification of income from personal injury and increased contribution from emerging practice areas.
“We are delighted to be welcoming the growing businesses of Emanate and Stephen Browne into the Shine Group,“ said Mr Morrison.
The acquisition will be funded via a fully underwritten 1 for 10 renounceable entitlement offer at $1.90 to raise $29.45 million.
Shine expects to report in excess of 20% EBITDA growth in FY14, which would be towards the lower end of the previously provided guidance range of $34 to $37 million.
Key factors that have driven FY14 performance have been improved productivity and focus on cost efficiencies, offset by increased marketing costs and lower than expected resolution outcomes on some cases.
12 June 2014 - Inside Bitcoins
10 June 2014 - Primerus Enters Australian Market
9 June 2014 - Bury the Billable Hour
Listen to the guru of value pricing Ron Baker being interviewed on time-based billing v Value Pricing.
5 June 2014 - Rough Ride for Investors in Professional Services Businesses on the ASX
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